Sydney bars, galleries, shops: night plan being discussed tonight

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Sydney bars, galleries, shops: night plan being discussed tonight

From doubling late night city buses to light rail and outdoor dining, the strategy for late night Sydney activities is being discussed tonight.

If you own or run a bar, gallery, shop, restaurant, club or any business affected by late night trading in Sydney's CBD, then you might be interested in tonight's discussion at Sydney City Council.

On the agenda tonight at Sydney Town Hall will be the OPEN Sydney Strategy and Action Plan - a wide-ranging plan which includes a proposed review of all night-time taxi ranks, doubling of NightRide buses, a 24-hour library and possible trading hours till 10pm instead of 5pm for retailers in appropriate areas.

You can download the 57-page OPEN Sydney Strategy and Action Plan here. It will be "the basis for all decision-making about Sydney at night between now and 2030."

Drinking, buses on the agenda
Reducing a focus on drinking for the "night-time economy" by 2030 is one overall goal. Others listed by the initiative include (information quoted from the City of Sydney web site):

  • "It is hoped 40% of people using the City at night will be aged over 40 and that 40% of operating businesses at this time will be shops."
  • "….a larger variety of retailers and attractions to stay open late…"
  • "….a 24-hour library with Wi-Fi facilities and one night every year where galleries and museums remain open late."
  • "The City hopes to double its night-time turnover to $30 billion and increase night-time employment by 25% to 100,000 jobs."

This video by the City of Sydney states that 28.4% of all jobs in the city come from late night business and services. Drink and entertainment are significant economic drivers, but the biggest is food.

Transport is a key concern. According to research cited by this press release from the Lord Mayor in 2011, late night and early morning pedestrian numbers on Darlinghurst Road in Kings Cross on a Saturday night can be more than 20,000 people.

The OPEN Sydney Strategy and Action Plan states that crowds in Kings Cross and George Street are "at their greatest" when trains end about 1am.

Research by the University of Western Sydney (UWS) cited in the same document found "NightRide bus services replacing trains are neither frequent nor desirable enough to meet crowd demands."

According to the OPEN Sydney web site, particular areas of focus are the CBD, Darling Harbour, Newtown, Glebe, Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Kings Cross and Potts Point.

Gallery night, trading hours for retailers

Other items mentioned in the OPEN Sydney Strategy and Action Plan:

  • "An annual Nuit Blanche or White Night style event, where Sydney cultural institutions and galleries stay open late on one night of the year;"
  • "Delivering the Transforming Sydney project – with light rail, outdoor dining, retail and family friendly activation connecting George Street, Sydney’s main street;"
  • "Trading hours for retailers are located on the development consent, and we will help retailers extend their trading hours via amendments to their development consent trading hours where appropriate. Late trading should never be mandatory, but new retailers in appropriate areas could be automatically granted extended retail trading hours (i.e. until 10pm instead of 5pm)."
  • "A pilot of the penalty and incentive Traffic Light System used in Cardiff, Wales, to improve venue compliance;"

The action plan going to Council tonight follows public input and debate including surveys, roundtables, community forums and submissions. The late night Sydney plan has already been through draft versions.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore announced public consultation back in 2011.

[Main article image: rorem / Shutterstock.com]

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